2016-12-31

2016

Get fucked.  In the perineum; in a new hole, just below the asshole.*


*depending on orientation

Not mine

Found elsewhere:

Whole world: We love you Carrie!

CF:I know.


2016-12-29

Products

I've gone from the product of two consecutive primes to the product of the squares of the first two primes.

Happy Birthday, I guess.  One less year I have to deal with...

2016-12-28

Not getting it

This a a couple of years late to the party*, but I've been re-watching Breaking Bad on Netflix, and I really don't understand the Skyler hate.  Seriously.  I could understand if Marie was the shrill harpy, but Skyler always seems to have more grace than any of the other characters.

When you step back from the whole antihero as protagonist dynamic, and honestly weigh the morality of the various characters, then after Walt Jr/Flynn, Skyler is the most moral character; or at least the one willing to consider the most pragmatic balance between absolute moral rightness, and what would actually be good for her family.. (Infants don't count).

I fear that the fact that Skyler's character is actually deeper than a blonde MILF with a mesmerizing set of tits is why there was such a negative reception.  My advice is to watch it again, and never forget that Walt is the villain in the story.

*I'm not _that_ late to the party, I've been following BB since it was broadcasting; it's just that I'm commenting on it now that's late.

Shame

I've never heard any of her music, or maybe I have and just don't know it, but this is sickening.



Seriously, read the tweet.  Ariana Grande and her boyfriend are confronted by a young fan who expresses respect for the boyfriend based on his sexual conquest of Ariana.

And everything Ariana has to say about it is right.  She doesn't deserve to be shamed for expressing herself.

Honestly, when I read stuff like this, I feel shamed for how badly we men behave at times.  It's important these stories continue to be told, and by as many high-profile people as possible.   Each time I come upon a story like this, I feel more and more compelled to confront perpetrators for their bad behavior should I witness it.   This isn't some stupid sexism-as-misguided-chivalry thing, I hope, but I think that when somebody hoots and grabs their balls as a pretty woman passes, and bystanders at least say "hey, that's not right," we might be able to make the situation better.

I don't really think we need to "defend her honor," like some self-appointed Dudley Do-Right White Knight so much as call out bad behavior.  It's not about the woman!  It's about the guy making wolf noises and simulating cunnilingus.

2016-12-27

This seriously made me cry


For those that don't know, Patton Oswald's wife died unexpectedly this year.   If anybody has a reason to be pissed off at this year, it's him.

And read though these responses.  Heartbreaking.

(oh and Anna Kendrick, marry me)

better and better and better

El-ahrairah claims another one.  The passage quoted is beautiful.
“You’ve been feeling tired,” said the stranger, “but I can do something about that. I’ve come to ask whether you’d care to join my Owsla. We shall be glad to have you and you’ll enjoy it. If you’re ready, we might go along now.”
They went out past the young sentry, who paid the visitor no attention. The sun was shining and in spite of the cold there were a few bucks and does at silflay [feeding above ground], keeping out of the wind as they nibbled the shoots of spring grass. It seemed to Hazel that he would not be needing his body any more, so he left it lying on the edge of the ditch, but stopped for a moment to watch the rabbits and to try to get used to the extraordinary feeling that strength and speed were flowing inexhaustibly out of him into their sleek young bodies and healthy senses.
“You needn’t worry about them,” said his companion. “They’ll be all right — and thousands like them. If you’ll come along, I’ll show you what I mean.”
He reached the top of the bank in a single, powerful leap. Hazel followed; and together they slipped away, running easily down through the wood, where the first primroses were beginning to bloom.

As a child (and into my early tweens) no "cartoon" has ever frightened me more than Watership Down.  I still get uneasy thinking about it. I think it's only fitting now that I read it, because if it's anything like the passage above, it's a true masterpiece.

And I'll probably not sleep for a week.

NOOOO!!!!!

Charlie Pierce on Carrie Fisher is beautiful, but this really smarts.

Once, while I was working for a public radio news quiz show that not long ago decided my contributions were no longer required,

Say it ain't so? If PJ O'Rourke still has a recurring slot on that show than there is no such thing as justice in the universe, especially since PJ is usually, obviously, drunk when he's on.  Both are still listed on the panelists page.

Also, via Charlie, another fantastic quote (on what to tell children about the infamous bikini in episode VI).

Tell them that a giant slug captured me and forced me to wear that stupid outfit, and then I killed him because I didn't like it. And then I took it off. Backstage.

Fuck 2016

This year really sucks.

Popular actress Carrie Fisher has passed away following a massive heart attack she suffered on a flight from London to Los Angeles, People is reporting. Fisher was 60 years old.

I'm not a fan of the original Star Wars, but she was probably the best thing about it (and I'm not talking about slave Leia).

What was even more impressive about her was her candor about her life and the challenges she faced.  Drugs, Bi-Polar disorder, failed marriages, etc.  This link from a couple of months ago really paints a picture Fisher the inspiration, not fisher the girl in the metal bikini. And nothing is more true than this:

Her life experiences are strange and absurd enough to most readers to serve as entertainment, but the amount of herself she puts into her work makes it more intimate. This has worked to her disadvantage in some of the critical reception, but her honesty about her life and her struggles, and the way she is able to make fun of them, has always made her endearing to her audience.

I am particularly fondly remembering her cameo on 30 Rock, where she poked fun at the problems she had had in her life, in a way that was as endearing as the previous quote implies.

I am a fan of Carrie the woman, not Carrie the princess of an outdated space-opera. 

“I haven’t ever changed who I am. I’ve just gotten more accepting of it. Being happy isn’t getting what you want, it’s wanting what you have,” she said.
Being happy isn't getting what you want, it's wanting what you have.  Let that sink in.

More on that

TED radio hour:


On the radio, it took me a couple of minutes to realize who was actually speaking.  It's pretty well-known that Julia Sweeney is an atheist, but I had never heard her story before.

As for me, having benefited from growing up in a place where religion isn't particularly prominent, I was simply raised with no faith.  No church unless I was invited by a friend, or wedding, or funeral, or other ritual of importance to a relative who hasn't (yet) given up on god.   My story is boring; I couldn't lose what I never had to begin with.

What I am not is famous, or particularly eloquent, charismatic, or even likable.  I am happy to hear this discussion on NPR just days after the biggest religious holiday of the year.

Tee Hee

Joe Donahue on WAMC was just wishing everybody a happy holiday, and said:  To the atheists and agnostics out there, hope you had a great Saturday and Sunday.

Since we're now 25% of the population (and 40% of those without one foot in the grave), it's nice to hear we're being acknowledged.

2016-12-26

RIP GM

I don't really have any love for George Michael; in fact I think he was a joke as a performer.  That said, he gets major props for what must be in one of the five funniest scenes in cinema, ever.

Inasmuch as not being able to be woken up for the so-called "go go," I think he deserves props for bringing such joy to us, whether or not we're really fans. The thing that seems to jump out at me is the  chicken choking incident a couple decades back (which really says more about me than him, it's not like he's Roman Polanski, or anything).

So I'm sorry I couldn't wake you up before we went-went.  And it's our fault, not yours.

2016-12-21

What is it about Union st?

Cafe Nola seized.  Again, for unpaid taxes.

Just pay your fucking taxes people!

EDIT: this place is literally next door to the Bier Abbey which has also been seized for tax reasons (but has since settled them).

Tis the Season

This is old, and has been posted everywhere, so why not?


2016-12-19

AGILE isn't

I'll just pretend the past few days didn't happen. 

Anywho, work continues to rear its ugly head, with the project I'm working on going completely off the rails.  The first problem is agile.

Proponents of agile have this to to say about the primary alternative, waterfall.

In 1970, Dr. Winston Royce presented a paper entitled “Managing the Development of Large Software Systems,” which criticized sequential development. He asserted that software should not be developed like an automobile on an assembly line, in which each piece is added in sequential phases. In such sequential phases, every phase of the project must be completed before the next phase can begin. Dr. Royce recommended against the phase based approach in which developers first gather all of a project’s requirements, then complete all of its architecture and design, then write all of the code, and so on. Royce specifically objected to this approach due to the lack of communication between the specialized groups that complete each phase of work.

This begins with a metaphor so badly applied as to make this assessment a strawman.  Components needn't be developed sequentially, but there is a definite sequence to development work:

  1. Define the problem
  2. Architect a solution.  This means break the problem down into its component steps, and identify the information that must be shared between steps.
  3. Write each component in parallel
  4. Assemble into final product
Dr. Royce's assessment assumes two things that aren't always true:

  1. That each of these phases is executed by a dedicated, isolated team.
  2. That there is no further revision to the outcome of phase 2 after phase 3 is underway.
Agile purports to rectify the perceived shortcomings of waterfall by:

Agile development methodology provides opportunities to assess the direction of a project throughout the development lifecycle. This is achieved through regular cadences of work, known as sprints or iterations, at the end of which teams must present a potentially shippable product increment. By focusing on the repetition of abbreviated work cycles as well as the functional product they yield, agile methodology is described as “iterative” and “incremental.” In waterfall, development teams only have one chance to get each aspect of a project right. In an agile paradigm, every aspect of development — requirements, design, etc. — is continually revisited throughout the lifecycle. When a team stops and re-evaluates the direction of a project every two weeks, there’s always time to steer it in another direction.

Oh boy!  Sounds great! And I'll bet it just might work, if it were actually seriously applied.  But badly implemented, it will DESTROY your productivity and your final product. 

Here's what's going on with my big project:

  1. We are using a specialized tool to track the development tasks, aka "user stories," and this same tool to drive our "daily," "stand up" meetings.
  2. We have very week leadership from a management perspective.
  3. We have no direction from a technical perspective.
  4. We have two development teams with experience in wildly different technologies, development processes, and business practices.
  5. One of these two teams is cliquey, juvenile and unproductive in communications. (them)
  6. We are pedantic, data driven, and terse in communication.
This adds up to a perfect storm of frustrating bullshit.   Here's how these problems manifest themselves.

For #1, rally is opaque to those unfamiliar with agile and its terminology, and doubly so to those that do understand what those agile terms are supposed to mean and see them being misapplied, always.

The other problem with using this type of tool, or any task list to drive periodic meetings is that inevitably those meetings devolve into a discussion of "what was this task again?"  We should be discussing technical difficulties, or reassessing how our particular approach to a particular solution applies to changes in customer requirements.

Furthermore, these are typically daily, and 15 minutes long (mercifully we're twice weekly, 30 minutes long).  The agile paragraph above outlines the concept of a conceptually shippable product, that's known as an MVP (minimally viable product).  Which sort of dovetails nicely with point 2.

Our leadership is so week as to set arbitrary parameters for our MVPs, with two weeks for each iterative sprint.  This is, to put it kindly, FUCKING UNREALISTIC!!  So as to point 1, we now have too many tasks to cover in 30 minutes, let alone 15, there's no room to even evaluate if what we're doing is actually correct!!!

This is exacerbated by the lack of somebody to separate the users from the developers.  Our particular manager is asking developers to interact with rally to create "user stories" (tasks), rather than having somebody dedicated to interface with the users and create these tasks on their behalf (I actually just emailed my management asking for just such a person, fingers crossed).

No direction from a technical perspective means that the final product is evolving organically.  Which is how you end up with bad systems that work for no apparent reason.  Think of the human eye, with it's inside out retina and resulting blind spot.  Your solution may work, but not optimally, and the first rule is software optimization is DON'T.

The last three just contribute unnecessary stress to an already dire situation.  Communication is difficult, prone to misinterpretation, misunderstanding, and flat out annoyance.  The bifurcated team also means that the web side doesn't understand the batch side (where the actual work gets done), and blindly plods on without bother to obtain an understanding of what they actually need to be doing.

So yeah, my job sucks right now.  At least I'm paid well (enough)(for now).

2016-12-16

Why?

Why does the suicide prevention website show such happy people?  It must be great for the attractive,  multi-racial couple, but not so much for the rest of us.   Maybe that's the problem.

d

I want to die.

I'm working on it.

2016-12-15

Odd choice of words.

This is surprisingly reasonable.  This particular conservative radio host (soon to be ex-radio) does a very good job describing the media environment the conservative movement has built for itself.   One thing is odd though:

When it became clear that I was going to remain #NeverTrump, conservatives I had known and worked with for more than two decades organized boycotts of my show. One prominent G.O.P. activist sent out an email blast calling me a “Judas goat,” and calling for postelection retribution. As the summer turned to fall, I knew that I was losing listeners and said so publicly.

Judas goats are goats that were sterilized, painted red, have had radio trackers installed and used to ferret out populations of invasive goats in environmentally sensitive areas.  Radiolab has an excellent episode about their use in the Galapagos.

Why this strikes me as odd, is that it is the exact opposite of what was (probably) meant by the accuser; which is, I believe, a simplistic invocation of "Judas" as a metonym for "betrayer."   I can't think of how the actual function of Judas goats has anything to do with, or resembles in anyway whatsoever, the #NeverTrump people.

2016-12-13

Because a taser would have been gauche

Fuck you.

Police in Bakersfield, Calif., shot and killed an unarmed 73-year-old man whose family claimed was suffering from dementia.
Sounds like a serious threat.  The life-threatening kind.

/s

2016-12-12

Solaranite

Stupid stupid stupid.  The jackass doesn't know what he doesn't know and would be damned before he lets anybody tell him.

You know, I’m, like, a smart person. I don’t have to be told the same thing in the same words every single day for the next eight years."

SMRT.

2016-12-10

It's not just here

Dustup in France.  Somewhat surprised that the bald guy is the one in the right on this one.

But for the record, this is what getting punched out looks like. 


As smart as a chicken.

I told you so.

But critics who tell Trump to behave more maturely, even presidentially, are missing something crucial: The President-elect probably cannot control himself. I interviewed him for six hours when writing a biography, and I mean that literally.
No probably about it.

He no longer had to manipulate journalists and wait for them to act. He could tap out a few words and get what he wanted immediately. It reminded me of psychologist B.F. Skinner's experiments with chickens that learned to push a button with their beaks for the reward of a food pellet. Once they had trained themselves, the birds couldn't stop pecking even when the pellets no longer came and they injured themselves.

There was, and is, ample evidence that trump is incapable of considering anything other than trump.  This is the third, or fourth biographer of trump to say essentially the same thing: he's a vindictive asshole. 

Last October, Richard Branson said that at a private lunch between the two, Trump, unprompted, had vowed to spend the rest of his life destroying five people who hadn't helped him during his latest bankruptcy.

What the hell is Richard Branson doing having lunch with gutter slime like trump? Notwithstanding the troubling implications of the unprompted statement itself.

2016-12-08

RIP John Glenn

NPR

The first American to orbit the Earth has died. John Glenn was the last surviving member of the original Mercury astronauts. He would later have a long political career as a U.S. senator, but that didn't stop his pioneering ways.

This is a sad day.  We have become much more risk averse, or less bold in our exploration of space, and now we're losing the laurels on which we're resting.

We need new John Glenns.  We need new Buzz Aldrins.  But all we have now are robot probes.

OMG

Genius!  (found elsewhere)

Pope to fake news posters: EAT SHIT!

Well, not quite, but he did say shit-eating was involved.

"I believe that the media should be very clear, very transparent, and not fall prey—without offence, please—to the sickness of coprophilia, which is always wanting to communicate scandal, to communicate ugly things, even though they may be true," he told Belgian Catholic weekly newspaper Tertio. "And since people have a tendency towards the sickness of coprophagia, it can do great harm."

The only issue I take with this is not reporting what's true, but scandalous.  That absolutely must be published.  But I wholeheartedly endorse the use of the word coprophagia (which is oddly red-squigglied here, but not in the preceding quote).  This is the best Pope of my lifetime (though the bar is so low as this assessment is meaningless).

Hostile work environment

Some asshole (one of the contractors doing the renovation) is playing christmas music in the hallway.  Loud enough that it's audible in my office with the door closed.   It sounds like Bing Crosby, or maybe Danny Kaye and maybe the Andrews sisters; they all sound the same.

I hate christmas music with the intensity of a thousand white hot suns.  This is my own personal hell.

Good problems to have

I have to tighten my belt two notches to keep pants that were too small this time last year from falling down if I stand up.

2016-12-07

Normalcy

First this.

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to “kill all” the country’s suspected drug users and dealers has many foreign critics, including the United States, the European Parliament and the International Criminal Court. It now has at least one high-profile supporter: President-elect Donald Trump, at least according to Duterte.

In a statement Saturday, Duterte shared details of a seven-minute conversation that took place Friday. He said that during the call, Trump endorsed his campaign against drug users and dealers — a campaign that has left at least 4,500 Filipinos dead in about five months. Trump told Duterte that he was doing it the “right way,” according to Duterte’s account.

Then four fucking days after that was published, this.

I witnessed bloody scenes just about everywhere imaginable — on the sidewalk, on train tracks, in front of a girls’ school, outside 7-Eleven stores and a McDonald’s restaurant, across bedroom mattresses and living-room sofas. I watched as a woman in red peeked at one of those grisly sites through fingers held over her eyes, at once trying to protect herself and permit herself one last glance at a man killed in the middle of a busy road.

WARNING: The New York Times piece contains very graphic images, though they are further down the page.   

I don't know what pisses me off more about this situation: the endorsement of a policy of extra-judicial killings, or the motivation behind the endorsement.

We know very well that trump is not detail-oriented.  My assumption is that all trump knows about Duterte is that he called Obama a son of a whore, because Obama didn't like Duterte's anti-drug policy.  I doubt very much that he understands why not only Obama, but the broader international community oppose the policy.

I'm fairly certain that this endorsement is one of those: Obama's agin' it so I'm fer it situations.  I mean, if it's worth calling the leader of the free world a son of a whore over, it can't be all bad, right?

2016-12-06

breathless

Lady Sybil has a lovely voice.


Yes, that's really Jessica Findlay-Brown singing in the clip.

But this girl really nails it.  And I mean holy shit is she good! If your heart doesn't melt, then you don't have one.


This song is becoming a second La Vie en Rose for me.  Here's Cristin Milioti showing us what that song's all about.


While we're on pretty actresses who can also sing, here's Beth Green (or Emily Kinney as she's known in real life).


(and vis-a-vis the TWD, Beth's death is when it turned south for me).

Btw: here are the lyrics for Expired Lover.   This is depressing, and frankly, pretty dark.

No, I'm not the only girl to save
Items past their expiration date
I sucked you up 'till my stomach churned
My throat would close, my eyes would burn
Someone told me love was supposed to hurt
But now I've learned
And I don't want this anymore
Like the hand-me-downs waiting by my door
I kept you around, but I don't know what for

Small comforts

I would take solace in the fact that reports like these of a lack of engagement with agencies by those appointed to head them would reduce the amount of damage that could be inflicted.   Much like this kid:


Quoth a treasury landing team member:

“If I am on the Treasury landing team, and I’ve never met Steve Mnuchin, how much sway am I going to have?”

This lack of engagement would be desirable.  Just like the kid above, members of the "inner circle" might have the illusion of control, but agency professionals would really be in control, and the auto-pilot would hopefully moderate some of the more radical policy positions, to the extent that any policy positions whatsoever actually exist.

The problem is there are dire consequences for any lack of engagement, let alone one of this magnitude.  As bad as it was, there weren't facebook, twitter, or reddit in 2001 to rile up a bunch of newly-empowered methbillies into taking enforcement of Dear Leader's anti-terrorism policies into their own hands.  This will be much, much worse.

And it's already starting.

Deja Vu

I think I actually saw this happen during the second debate.

(from here.  h/t PZ)

EDIT: I did see it at the second debate:

2016-12-05

BAH!

qualifies

All I'm saying is that it fits the data. What else do you need?
It definitely fits!

And to the shock of absolutely no one

NYT reports the obvious has happened.  My comment follows (if it gets approved, I've got a pretty good track record, though).

It may well be that due to his life experience, Dr Carson is capable of empathizing with those people who are forced to live in poor, and/or violent areas.

That said, what is more important is being capable of analysing root causes and measuring the relative effectiveness of potential solutions (and having enough knowledge about potential solutions so that they go beyond "more jesus!").

During the primary Dr. Carson revealed himself to be completely incapable of such analysis.  The pyramids were used by Joseph to store grain?  Really? What other frankly, stupid, notions would Ben Carson bring to the table?  How destructive might they actually be?

This is a terrible pick, but part for Trump's course.  Loyalty is the sole qualification of any import. 

Aside from fealty, all Carson brings to the table is his batshit religion and being a good plumber.  Honestly, doesn't it seem that neurosurgery is more about memorization and dexterity, than actual problem solving and analysis?  That's not to say they're not important skills, they're just not the right skills for the task at hand.

Look forward to the nomination of General Petraeus to the Secretary of State.  When that happens, satire will no longer be possible.

2016-12-02

Caber

Yes, I'm seriously considering moving to Scotland.  i probably won't, but I'm not counting it out at this point.

EDIT: this post brought to you by the number of the beast.

2016-12-01

My Biggest Mistake

17 years ago I met a girl at college in Plymouth, NH.   Jennifer Whitehead.  16 years ago she made me a large card for my birthday in the style of Jhonen Vasquez, and because I'm fucking oblivious, she's not my wife.

It's a little more complicated, honestly, I was enamored with her best friend at the time, and when I went for her (the friend), I was rebuffed with Jen's feelings for me being the reason.   

So I was fucking told that this wonderful, talented girl liked me, and I couldn't process it.  I'm such an asshole.

So Jennifer, wherever you are now, I'm sorry.  

We should be ashamed

This man is a global hero.  Full stop.
He has been to the moon!  I hope he recovers; to me, it will be like the passing of Kurt Vonnegut if he dies.

He's got a great sense of humor, as evidenced by this clip of 30 Rock.

What really saddens me is that we haven't been back.  It's only 240,000 miles away, and yet we have rested on our laurels for the past half century, while China's ambition has grown.  I'd like to see a US-China partnership on a space program.   I think they have a great deal of talent to offer.